Hello, Newman: Faith-based dorms encouraged to make housing available for secular, atheist students

Faith Karwacki

Perspectives Editor


Universities across the nation are known to provide students with dormitories that cater to their special interests.

Specialized housing for Troy University students includes dormitories that allow them to reside under different conditions such as maintaining a high GPA, abstaining from alcohol consumption, participating in Greek organizations, or having a general interest in international relations.
What makes the Newman Center such a hot-button issue in the eyes of the general public is the boldness with which such a facility was built.
It’s no surprise that religion and spirituality play a large role in the lives of the majority of students at a university in Alabama.
That being said, in the midst of such overwhelming growth in our student body, was constructing a faith-based behemoth of a dorm necessary?
The housing lottery system was put in place at the last minute in 2011 due to the dramatic increase in admissions, leaving many students to scramble for off-campus housing before they were ready or had the knowledge and funds to find housing elsewhere.
There were students who had no other option but to transfer credits and move back in with their families because of the housing shortage.
To build such a large dorm that is intended for students who claim a faith at this time is somewhat inconsiderate.
While there is a shortage in housing, there is no shortage of faith-based organizations offered on this campus or students who can provide each other with a sense of spiritual fellowship.

Students of a secular background are the minority on this campus and to segregate students of various backgrounds on such a large scale takes away from the multicultural exchange of ideas that is so integral to the college experience.

What’s more is that incorrect assumptions are made about secular students.

John Schmidt, Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement & External Relations was quoted to say about the Newman Center, “We believe that it is equally important to assist students in building a value-based life.”

This statement implies that non-religious students don’t base their lives on a set of morals and ideals that are important to them.

This is a common misconception religious people have about the non-religious; a misconception that might be remedied by encouraging a sense of community between students of all walks of life.
These 376 new rooms are a great start to tackling the housing issue, but 52 more rooms could have filled the area that is dedicated to the Newman Center itself.

I encourage the Troy University Foundation to also open their facility to students who are open non-believers and support a sense of open discussion and community between these students.

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